This was supposed to be the wicket where India would struggle and Australia would win in 3 days. That is what everyone had us believe. Instead, at the end of Day 2 at the WACA, we have India on top with a lead of 170 runs, with 9 wickets still remaining (it could have been 10 – had Jaffer not played that stroke in the penultimate over of the day)
You could actually be excused for thinking that it was the other way around – Australia had scored 330 in the first innings and India was all out for 212. But, no! It was the Aussies who seemed to struggle against the bounce and just lasted 50 overs against a largely inexperienced bowling attack.
The Indians started out quite well yesterday, but basically handed the momentum to the Aussies in the last session of play yesterday. When India were all out for 330 this morning, I thought they were at least 70 runs short of a decent 1st innings score on a pitch where they weren’t expected to score high. The bowlers swung the momentum back India’s way.
It is going to be an interesting day’s play tomorrow and would be nice if India capitalize on the lead they already have and build on it. Although India is on top at the moment, the game is far from over – one bad session for India and Australia will be back in the game.
I think players from both camps realize that. As they say it aint over till the fat lady sings…
Television, Radios, print media and the blogosphere reporting on cricket have all been running full steam on umpiring decisions, the game being played in the right spirit, racial slurs, bans and the lot after the Sydney test. I thought I’d break the monotony with a post on actual cricket.
Australia lead the series 2-0 and the focus now shifts to the Perth test which starts in a week. The Australians dominated the MCG test and were the clear winners. It was a different story at the SCG. Although they won the SCG test, the match was very much in the open till the 5th day morning. To the credit of Hussey and Symonds, they batted India out of the game and by lunch time, only 2 results were possible – either an Australian win or a tame draw. If it hadn’t been for bad umpiring decisions through out the game and an Indian batting collapse on the final day, we could have had a very different result and the Indians can take some consolation from that.
For starters, the fab four – Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar and Ganguly were amongst the runs. Even more heartening was the fact that in Dravid’s second innings, he seemed to have lost the shackles that tied him down in the first innings and the first test. In the bowling department, RP Singh excelled in the first innings and troubled the batsmen even in the second. Ishant was a bit unlucky, but we really missed Zaheer Khan. Kumble as always was reliable and Harbhajan bowled much much better than the MCG test.
Ok – those were the positives; what about the negatives? Wasim Jaffer has been really disappointing so far and in my opinion should make way for Sehwag. Yuvraj Singh is also completely out of sorts. He needs to make way for Pathan, which will give us the extra fast bowling option in Perth (I can’t even imagine going to Perth with just 2 fast bowlers!) If I were a selector, I wouldn’t pick Harbhajan Singh for Perth – but that is unlikely to happen (Apparently he is allowed to play until the appeal is hear). I also think it is unlikely that Pankaj Singh or VRV Singh will replace Ishant Sharma in the playing XI. We managed to take 17 Australian wickets but at a cost of 864 runs. Unless we get all twenty wickets at a much lower cost, India don’t stand a chance. The batsmen – particularly the big 4 will have to play well again. My guess is that Pathan, Pankaj Singh, VRV Singh and Sehwag will be given a chance to play in the 2-day tour game in Canberra, which starts tomorrow.
Of course, Australia start as the overwhelming favourites. The bouncy wickets of WACA will be a challenge to the Indians and let us hope they put up a good fight like they did in Sydney. If the match does not have a clear winner on the morning of day 5, I’ll be a happy man.
Most likely team –
- Harbhajan Singh
- RP Singh
- VRV Singh/Ishant Sharma
Posted in Australia, Cricket, India
Tagged Dhoni, Dravid, Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, India v Australia, Ishant Sharma, Jaffer, Kumble, Laxman, Pathan, RP Singh, Sehwag, VRV Singh, WACA, Yuvraj Singh